Industrial Action Hardship Fund

This is the guidance for the Imperial College UCU Hardship Fund for members of UCU (updated 25/01/2023). Note that the UCU Fighting Fund is also available to members.

1. The Imperial College UCU Hardship Fund will be used to support Imperial College UCU members taking industrial action in the USS dispute. All claims must include your UCU membership number, which will be confirmed by the treasurer with central UCU.

2. The ”current period’’ referred to below is the period for which industrial action is mandated which effectively began on November 24th 2022 (the first strike day of the current period) and includes the recently announced 18 days of strike action in February and March 2023.

3. Members can apply to the local Imperial Branch Hardship Fund for strike pay for the single day of action on January 23rd 2023. This is separate and independent of the rules set out below.

4. Members can apply to the National UCU Fighting fund for strike pay from the second day of strike action in the current period, for up to a total of 11 days of strike pay.

5. The Imperial College UCU Hardship Fund will support as many members as possible for the first day of strike action in the current period. Members are encouraged to apply to the national UCU Fighting Fund from the 2nd day of action onwards (

For example, an Imperial UCU member who took 3 days of strike action on 24, 25 and 30 November 2022 and one day of strike action on 23 January 2023 and intends to strike for the full 18 days of action in Feb and March can apply to Imperial UCU Hardship fund for 24 Nov ’22 and 23 Jan ’23 and to National UCU for 25 & 30 Nov ’22 and 9 of the remaining strike days.

The national guidance says that the NEC will review the 11-day cap. Whatever the NEC decide, Imperial UCU will endeavour to cover strike pay from the local hardship fund for any strike days not covered by National UCU (we may need to prioritise claims, depending on the number of claims).

6. The rates of compensation are the same as for National UCU strike pay: a maximum daily compensation of £75 if your gross salary is below £30k p.a. and £50 otherwise. The branch asks members to only claim from the hardship fund if necessary. This will allow us to help those most affected by the loss of pay. No evidence of hardship is required to make a claim.

7. Claims from Imperial College staff on lower paid and insecure contracts will be given priority.

8. Members must apply for strike pay within 6 months of losing pay from their wages.

9. Members must provide a copy of their payslip, showing the deduction of wages as a result of strike action. No claim will be considered unless a copy of their payslip is provided. Members who are not paid monthly and/or have no payslip and who have lost pay due to strike action may still be able to apply for strike pay and should contact the Branch Treasurer for advice.

10. Members who are in arrears on their UCU membership fees cannot claim from the hardship fund.

11. Please email the UCU Imperial Branch Treasurer Fay Dowker ( to request an application form. Please submit the form, and a scanned copy of your payslip, to the Treasurer. All details on this form, including the copy of your payslip, will be kept confidential by the Treasurer and the members of the prioritisation panel. The details of all claims will be kept on record by the Treasurer for audit purposes.

12. Claims will be approved by a panel of three Imperial College UCU Branch representatives, chaired by the Imperial College UCU Treasurer. The panel will prioritise claims should there be a need to do so. The panel will oversee all payments made from the Hardship Fund.

13. Payments will be made by direct bank transfer, to the account of the UCU member making the claim.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Be a current member of UCU and not in arrears on membership fees.
  2. Have taken part in strike action in the USS dispute (action period beginning in November 2022)
  3. Have been docked pay for participating in the strike action.
  4. Completing the application form and supplying proof of loss of earnings, by emailing a copy of your payslip.

The panel will take into consideration the following criteria when prioritising claims:

  1. Type of contract
  2. Salary Band & Spinal Point
  3. Number of days claiming for